Actor Danny Dyer has been speaking to RadioTimes.com about tonight’s shock EastEnders cliffhanger that saw Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) revealed to viewers as being Mick Carter’s mum.
Of the moment when he himself learned of the twist, Dyer says: “Our executive producer Dominic [Treadwell-Collins] called me in to see him. And I really didn’t have a clue what he was going to say. When Dom told me, I was quite tearful. It’s an emotional thing and the way it plays out is going to be powerful.”
In the closing seconds of this evening’s instalment, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) was left open-mouthed with surprise when he realised that the son to whom Shirley had been referring over the course of the episode was not Dean Wicks but Mick Carter (Dyer), the landlord of the Queen Vic who everybody believes to be her brother.
Phil, who had been trying to convince the errant Dean (Matt Di Angelo) to reconcile with mum Shirley, was blindsided when she instead headed to the pub to apologise to her “boy”, Mick.
“Linda [Henry] had known for months that this was going to happen,” continues Dyer. “So as soon as I came out of Dom’s office, I dropped her a text and wrote, ‘Have a nice night, mum’ and added a couple of kisses. She rang me back straight away saying that she’d been dying to tell me.”
The revelation comes at the end of an eventful week for the Carter family that has also seen Mick coming to terms with the fact that it was Shirley who tried to drown him as a baby. After Mick violently held dad Stan’s (Timothy West) head under a shower stream, Shirley blurted out that it was actually she who was responsible for the original act of childhood torment.
“It was a horrible scene to film, but we need to have these moments which show that Mick can be a dangerous person. Timothy West told me to go for it, but we did have a stunt man because, as you saw, I really had to drag Stan into that bathroom. The last thing I’d want to do is hurt Tim in real life, so we had a good double. But I made use of him – don’t you worry about that!
“Working with someone like Tim West is so inspiring, though, because he’s such a brilliant actor. He steals every scene he’s in and it’s great to try and just keep on a level with him. To look him in the eye and say, ‘right, let’s go toe to toe’.”
The big question now, though, is when will Mick discover the truth about his parentage? After all, secrets never stay buried for long in soapland.
“Mick won’t find out until further down the line. Obviously, the audience now knows, yet Mick is none the wiser. But viewers will start to see the reasons why Shirley has acted the way she has,” says Dyer. “After she admits to the drowning, Mick says to her, ‘promise me that there will be no more lies’. And obviously there’s still a massive one there waiting to come out.”
EastEnders continues on Bank Holiday Monday at 7.30pm on BBC1
Danny Dyer is nominated for Best Actor and Sexiest Male at this year’s British Soap Awards. Have your say in all the viewer-voted categories here.